Eleanor Randolph Wilson McAdoo to Margaret Woodrow Wilson


Eleanor Randolph Wilson McAdoo to Margaret Woodrow Wilson


McAdoo, Eleanor Wilson, 1889-1967




1942 August 14


Eleanor Wilson McAdoo writes Margaret A. Wilson, and expresses concern.


Eleanor Wilson McAdoo Papers, University of California, Santa Barbara


Woodrow Wilson Presidential Library & Museum


Wilson family




My own beloved Margie

     I had a letter from you yesterday - a letter written only a little over a month ago (the 21st of June) "mirabile dictu!" Oh, darling what joy and relief it brought me! The last one I had had was dated the middle(?) of February. No, I didn't get the one you wrote in March - the one you asked about in this last letter. And it has taken all the faith of which I am capable and all the strength that the Mother and Sri Aurobindo and you have sent me in such a beautiful steady stream to keep me from being terribly afraid for you. There have been moments, I have to confess, when I was tired, that I grew weak and let fear creep in, but I fought it off - no, thats the wrong way to put it - I didnt fight, I just lay still and relaxed and prayed and the fear went away. And then I knew that you were alright, my darling. You were right there with me, telling me so. But somewhere inside me the fear must have lurked - hidden away - because a few weeks ago, when I was in Washington I called for Davies and he told me that the State Department had heard from one of their consular agents, who had seen you and who had reported that you were well and happy and wanted to stay there, and suddenly I found myself crying with relief. You see, darling, Frank Sayre and George Creel had told me about how Edward Deval had asked the State Department to wire you, asking if you wanted to come home and telling you that they would arrange for your safe passage. But they had had no answer and they were all very worried. And later, when I was in Texas, a reporter called me up - having traced me all over the country - to tell me, with the most repulsive cheerfulness that you had disappeared. That was one of the bad moments, the worst of all. But I didnt really believe it, my darling. I couldn't, because I know that you are under Divine Protection, as you told me (reminded me) in this last most beautiful of all your beautiful letters. Oh, precious sister, you will never know how happy I am when I read your letters - how they fill me with renewed faith and new strength. I love you so much that it is like a benediction just to think of you. And the love you give me fills my heart to overflowing so that I always weep a little with gratitude and joy. Words are so maddening. They just touch the edges of deep feeling. But you know how much I love you, dont you, beloved Margieand do you know, too, that you mean to me - or rather personify all the graciousness and beauty and strength that I strive for and find so hard to reach in my own life? Thank God for you and those wonderful two who help me every day of in this long uphill climb. Will you thank them for me - I know that you already have, but thank them again. Why I should deserve such help, I dont know, but I shan't question that. They give it and that is all I need to know.
     You didnt get my last letter, apparently and I cant remember now what I told you in it! And I havent written to you for a long time, because Frank Sayre told me that he had tried to send you a letter and that the Post Office people told him that no letters for India were being accepted any more. I believed it, like an idiot, and felt so desolate and cut off from you, and then when I was in Washington I asked my boss, the Secretary of the Treasury, if it was true and he said he'd find out and he did and, lo and behold, it wasnt true - or was true no longer, any how. I could have kicked myself!
     Well, as I told you in my last letter, I think, I am working for the Treasury Department, at the same old stand as in the last war! Only in a slightly different capacity Then I worked with the Sec. of the Treasury - now I work for him and get payed for it! Funny, isn't it I think Mac must smile often, if he sees me now. I am on the National War Savings Staff - the Washington Staff I mean - but "assigned" to the West Coast states (seven of them) as Regional Adviser for Womens' Activities. Pompous sounding, what? Mrs. Roosevelt got me the job - having heard that I needed a job, she asked Morgenthau to give me one. Which I think was pretty sweet, since I hadn't even hinted to anyone that I could use a government job. I didnt even want it, because I hated the thought of political favors, but I couldn't have borne not doing some sort of war work, and so I took it. I get $4600 a year - not a fortune, but plenty, and I consider myself very lucky indeed. No, not lucky - this is all a part of the miracle begun in India. She said - the Mother I mean, that everything - even material things would go well for me - I haven't forgotten that. So you see, my darling, why I didn't cash your wonderful, generous check right away. I didn't need it, you lovely angel, so I thought I'd send it back to you, but I waited until I could be sure that that was what I should do. Then I knew somehow, that you wanted me to keep it whether I needed it or not that it was like a token of your love and that such gifts cannot be sent back, but only accepted, as they are sent, with thankfulness and love. But I can say thank you - thank-you, beloved sister, can't I? I could help Ellie a little, and Fred, and pay some bills that had worried me for a long time, so you see what you did? Oh, darling, you are so sweet. Ellie has been through some bad times, which wont hurt her, but which hurt me, desperately, because I could do so little for her, until your gift made it possible. Fred never will take any money fronm me, any more, but he is in terrible straits and because I could tell him that I had had a wonderful present from you, he let me give him $50 on his birthday. I can't tell you how happy that made me. Yes, I love him still and always will. Ive accepted that, at last, with all the lonliness it entails. He has changed so - he seems so lost and so desperately sad and yet he is too proud to want to marry me, because he has no money, except the infintesimal amount he earns now and then - just enough to keep body and soul to-gether. He has lost his country and his mother - and his father is dying all alone, except for a servant or two, in his great old house in Austria. And both of Fred's brothers have been forced to fight in Russia with the Germans and are almost certainly dead. So there is only his sister - married and living in Canada - and Fred, who because he is technically an enemy alien isn't allowed to volunteer to fight for this country that he loves. I am moving heaven and earth to get him some sort of a job, but with no sucess in sight. I don't want to marry him - or do I? I dont know. We are like two old married people, now, in a funny sort of way. And I am not any longer, unhappy when I dont see him - which is often, because I am travelling almost constantly. I am too busy to "pine" and too old to be romantic so - well, we just go along! I don't know how else to put it.
     I like my job now - at first I was scared that I couldn't do it, because what did I know about organizing women, of all things? And making speeches all the time was a nightmare. But now I'm getting used to speech-making, although heaven knows it will be a long time, if ever, before I'm any good at it, and the organization work is interesting - which surprises me no end. I guess I'm a pretty stubborn old war-horse, because I won't say I can't do what I have to do, and so suddenly it's almost easy to do it! And there's always the help - the God given help - how can I ever tell you how grateful I am for that? - it is so wonderful that I keep coming back to it all the time, darling - when I write to you, I mean - trying to tell you (and never succeeding) what it has done for me.
     I have been to Washington twice - in March (when I first took the job) to "learn the business," so to speak, and again a little while ago - I've returned from that trip. (When Faith met me at the station she said right away, with her blue eyes shining, "A letter from Margie, darling!" before she said anything else. Gosh was I happy - it was a beautiful home-coming!) The Treasury people, from Morgenthau down, are awfully sweet to me and give me a lot of lee-way to do the work without enquiring about hours, days or where or whither I go. I have visited all "my" states, making speeches everywhere, having conferences, consulting, advising, talking, talking and talking! Lord, how tired I get sometimes of the sound of my own voice. I am here, at home, only now and then for brief intervals and the problem of who will stay with Faithie has to be solved each time I leave. You see we have no servants room, and a maid who comes only three or four times a week, by the day. But friends, or Ellie & Bill, are very sweet about ke coming to stay and sometimes she visits with them, instead. She had a job for two months in the Internal Revenue Dept. here, as a junior clerk - licking envelopes or something equally grisly, but she stuck to it like a soldier, bless her, and was thrilled because she got a hundred dollars a month and could help me. Then, because of Civil Service rules, she had to quit temporarily, so I sent her back to complete her course at business school and next month she will probably have a better job there, if she can pass the C. S. exams. She thinks she is in love - as usual! - with a nice, but stodgy man (40 years old) I doubt, however, if anything will come of it, so I'm keeping my hands off, as I should, anyhow. You can't run anybody's life, can you?it's hard enough to run one's own!
     About the colitis. I haven't had a real attack for many months. Just an incipient one that I stopped before it got bad. My doctor advises an enema every day, which I do, and a pill (I don't know what it is) every night and that keeps me going - that and the Help that I know has more to do with my keeping well than anything. I am really better than I've been for ages, darling. It's miraculous, since I need so much to be well and because of the faith - the God-given faith - that has made it possible. Oh, I am so grateful, darling.
     And now I must stop, but I'll write again soon, I promise. Forgive me for not having written oftener, war or no war. Darling, shall we win it - the war? Will anybody "win" it? I try so hard to understand why this horror must be. Is it because of man's greed and selfishness and God-lessness that have gone on so long - too long not to be paid for? But why, oh why must the little children suffer?
     I suppose you can't tell me how you feel about what is going on in India, but I do so want to understand that, too. Oh darling, God keep you and those poor people and bring peace there - He will, wont He?
     I love you, love you, love you, with all my heart and soul and I won't be afraid for you because God is there with you all - and here, too, with us-
     My wonderful darling, my brave and beautiful sister - I love you - 

    Nell - 

Aug 14th 1942

Original Format



Wilson, Margaret Woodrow, 1886-1944





McAdoo, Eleanor Wilson, 1889-1967, “Eleanor Randolph Wilson McAdoo to Margaret Woodrow Wilson,” 1942 August 14, WWP19658, Eleanor Wilson McAdoo Collection at the University of California-Santa Barbara, Woodrow Wilson Presidential Library & Museum, Staunton, Virginia.